Church to spread word on disk: Many clergy are increasingly using computers as tools of work. Andrew Brown reports - UK - News - The Independent

Church to spread word on disk: Many clergy are increasingly using computers as tools of work. Andrew Brown reports

THE CHURCH of England's General Synod met in York at the weekend to discuss an agenda described by one observer as 'a suicide note in three parts: first they abolish the prayer book; then the priesthood; and finally the Establishment'.

The idea of a prayer book may have been doomed by computer technology. The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Rev David Stancliffe, told the Synod that 'interleaving material from a variety of sources on a computer is increasingly the practice. Even in a largely rural diocese, the number of clergy with no kind of word processor could be counted on the fingers of two hands. This means that authorised liturgical material from all our sources needs to be indexed and linked together in such a way as to be accessible to those whose primary sources are disks and not printed texts.

The bishop, chairman of the Church's Liturgical Commission, warned the Synod: 'If we do not provide approved material, the floodgates would open to private enterprise, and there would be immense diversity in the style and quality of what came to market.'

The CD-roms he proposes to publish could hold the complete texts of all the liturgies presently in use, alongside a couple of translations of the Bible; This would allow any vicar to print out service sheets containing only exactly what the congregation needed.

'There is a law not entirely unrelated to that of Sod, which says that the fatter the book, the greater the confusion,' said the Rev Terry Knights, who described himself as one of the few priests without a word processor.

After the debate, the Bishop of Ely, the Rt Rev Stephen Sykes, said the problem for the church was that much of its theology was bound up in common practices, which these technological developments threatened to undermine. 'With a book, you have to read the parts you disagree with, as well as those you like. We haven't yet solved the problem of how to be a Catholic Church in a post-modern age, where people can pick and mix from the doctrines and liturgies that suit them.'

Dr Sykes had also been chosen to lead the House of Bishops' counter-attack on a motion about lay presidency. This subject goes to the root of priesthood. Catholics, Orthodox and Lutherans believe the ordination of a priest conveys certain specific supernatural powers, so that he or she can re-enact the sacrifice of Christ at the Eucharist and not perform certain actions in memory of it, as Protestants believe.

The Church of England has always contained people who hold both understandings: the 39 Articles are ambiguous on the point; but the official view has always favoured the notion that priesthood matters. However, several ultra- Protestant parts of the Anglican Communion have been flirting with the idea of allowing lay people to celebrate the Eucharist.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Senior C++ Developer

£400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week